By Data-Smart City Solutions • December 5, 2018

This is part of a series of features to highlight key lessons from A New City O/S by Stephen Goldsmith and Neil Kleiman. 

Key Insights

  • Government has long been construed as a highly routinized organization, slow to evolve with shifting conditions. A new digital O/S is agile and responds quickly with rapid-cycle processes that produce dramatic benefits.
  • Few areas demonstrate the need to “act in time” as much as regulation.  Currently, permits, licenses, and inspections are handled with check-the-box protocols and rely on systems that ultimately cost citizens both money and time.
  • Regulation is essentially about assessing risk, and old systems are inefficient at discerning different risks. Using new technology and a distributed approach allows government to identify risk more accurately and quickly, thus improving health outcomes for citizens.
  • The new O/S calls for a pivot from uniform approaches to a system of data analytic tools that can identify problems, potentially concurrent work on requests, automating data sources, and support for frontline workers making the decisions.

Quick Tips

  • Cities should apply a metric of elapsed time spent and factor this into productivity reports.
  • A new system called Reg✓, based on TSA PreCheck, should be instituted to evaluate permit seekers such that official reviewers can fast track those with good histories and less complex requests.
  • Various opportunities present a way to hybridize existing regulations with reputation-based sharing economy information sources.

Potential Problems

  • Regulatory processes require periodic review, especially those captive to strong interest groups that create barriers to entry.
  • Regulations that are too high or too onerous will foster noncompliance.

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